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Home » Days of Omer

Omer: A Basic Overview

Submitted by on November 6, 2005 – 3:16 amNo Comment | 2,245 views


Counting of the Omer

When our
ancestors left Egypt, G-d promised that He would bring them to Mt.
Sinai and give them the Torah. In anticipation of receiving the Torah,
Jews began to count the days and weeks left until their arrival to Mt.
Sinai.




In commemoration
of their counting, we are commanded to count the days of the seven
weeks between Passover and Shavuot. The counting lends a special
festive atmosphere to these seven weeks as we prepare for the upcoming
holiday of Shavuot.




At the turn of
the first century, the Jews had a great rabbi and leader by the name of
Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva had twenty four thousand students in his
academy and they were all learned and respected scholars in their own
right.




However one
year, during the period of these seven weeks, they all perished in a
sudden plague. The nation mourned their great loss and dedicated these
weeks as a mourning period. During this time, we refrain from playing
or listening to music, buying or wearing new clothing and buying or
moving into new homes. It is also forbidden to schedule a wedding
during these seven weeks of mourning.




Our sages tell
us that Rabbi Akiva’s students were punished because they did not treat
each other with the proper measure of dignity and respect. During these
days we increase in Mitzvahs of charity, kindness and respect of our
fellow Jew. When we fulfill these Mitzvahs, we compensate in some
measure for the loss of these great Rabbis.



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